If there is one thing I have learned from
fly-fishing that I use in everyday life, it
is that nothing ventured, nothing gained is
more than an old cliché.
There are countless streams in Washington state
that you will never read about, hear about, or
even see unless one gets out and explores. I have
been lucky to find some great water, great scenery,
and even great fishing in rivers, or creeks so
small that most would pass them up as unproductive.
I have even heard others tell me the fishing is
not that good, only to find them to be not only a
blast to fish, but full of fish eager to take a dry.
When I was working in a sporting goods store
while putting myself through school, I often
fielded the "where should I go" question. My
simple suggestion was that there are so many
good rivers and streams around that they should
just go out and do some exploring. I have always
believed that finding out for yourself is far
more rewarding than being told exactly where to
go and what fly to use. Sometimes I got a weird
look, other times I got a "thanks for nothing"
look. I did give out more detailed advice, but
that was mostly for salmon or steel headers just
getting started. It was rare that anyone said that
was a good idea. Call me crazy, but I really enjoy
fishing new water. Don't get me wrong, there are
two rivers that I will fish every year, but new
water offers such a intoxicating buzz for me that
I try and fish new water as often as I can.
While not every river I have explored turned out
to be a gem, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I
have been lucky to hike into some of the most
beautiful country, exploring different waters,
and even found some good fishing. On one little
river I explored, I hiked in about a mile before
I found a pool that looked really good. It was a
hot, sunny day and the hiking was difficult with
all of the bushes and boulders. Most of the creek
was wide, with shallow riffles no deeper than 3
or 4 inches, with very few holding lies. But that
one really nice pool I found was so gorgeous, I
had to take a swim, after I had caught a few nice
cutthroats. I don't think I caught more than 5
fish that day, but I still am glad I was there.
I may not go back, but now I know of a great
This last October my wife and I drove over to
Tri-Cities via highway 12 around Mt Rainier and
then over Chinook pass. I saw so many streams
and rivers that I had to mark them on my map
for future trips. I can't wait for the season
to open as I am already dreaming of what I may
find. Maybe I'll find my next "must go to stream,"
or something I may never return to. But again,
I won't know till I get there and see for myself.
I feel lucky to have a good friend to go with me,
as hiking alone in unfamiliar territory is not
wise. Not everyone is willing to put forth so
much effort with no guarantees of success. We
have found some very beautiful places together
and I will always remember being there with him.
Beside the added safety of a companion, he also
serves a witness when we do find something special,
or for that big one.
Happy exploring! ~ Jeff Doerner (jeff98390j)